Outbound lead generation often gets a bad rap. Sadly, many businesses turn their noses at it before giving it a shot. We’re here to bust a lot of outbound lead generation myths so you can more clearly see the benefits it brings to growing businesses like yours.
What Is Outbound Lead Generation?
Outbound lead generation refers to when sales teams generate leads by actively reaching out to prospects and pitching their company’s product or service.
While there are many ways sales teams can go about their outbound lead generation process, many business growth teams aim to connect with prospects by sending cold emails or making cold calls. Overall, an outbound lead generation strategy aims to set a sales meeting between a qualified prospect and one of your internal account executives. During this meeting, a sales team member (often a sales or account executive) present sales opportunities with a pitch deck that aligns with their wants, needs, and pain points, encouraging them to sign on with your business.
Top Myths About Lead Generation (and the Reality)
There are a lot of myths about lead generation out there, and we’re here to break these myths and give you more insight about what’s true and what isn’t. Here are some of the top myths business owners have about lead generation and how valid they are.
“Outbound lead generation annoys high-quality prospects.”
While a prospect doesn’t want to hear from the same company or sales rep daily, outbound lead generation doesn’t mean you’re annoying them.
For example, think about how often a good friend or family member calls you. If the same person calls you twice a day about the slightest inconvenience, it may start to get a little irritating and interrupting your day, right? However, if they call to catch up more sporadically like once every few months, you probably enjoy the conversation a little more because you have more to catch up on and share with them. Well, the same idea can be said for outbound lead generation.
Like any B2B relationship, communication is key for building and maintaining relationships, and outbound lead generation is no different. That’s why sales reps must follow up with the right prospects at the right time.
When outbound lead generation is done right, your sales reps can consistently engage potential business opportunities without overstepping boundaries. Each sales email or phone call should serve a purpose and give prospects a reason to want to listen to what your sales reps say. From what you know about potential buyers in your target market, it’s essential to give them the information they want to hear. This could include what pain points you can resolve or what makes your products or services better than their current solution.
“Why should I search for prospects if they can come straight to my business?”
Decision-makers are often busy people who wear many hats. With all the different tasks on their plate, they often don’t have time to research other B2B product or service solutions that could better fit their company. Outbound lead generation is a great way to quickly contact potential buyers and discuss the pain points they’re experiencing with their current solution. This also allows your sales development representatives (SDRs) to show the value of your business, establishing your company as a trusted leader in the industry through client case studies, community proof of impact, awards and recognition, etc.
Don’t get us wrong—inbound marketing is a great way to generate leads for your sales pipeline, but it’s only a single piece of the sales puzzle. While you can’t control how many inbound leads come in, you can control how many outbound prospects you have in your sales pipeline. Additionally, outbound lead generation ensures that each lead being chased by SDRs meets your ideal customer profile. An inbound marketing lead may be a hot lead because they’re actively showing interest, but they may not meet your sales criteria. Therefore, sales and marketing teams must collaborate to align business growth efforts to make sure your company is reaching high-quality leads who are both sales and marketing qualified.
With outbound lead generation, you have more opportunity to set your account executives up with sales meetings that are likely to convert. An inbound marketing strategy is great for generating marketing leads, but who is responsible for qualifying leads to ensure they fit your ideal customer profile (ICP)? Many companies require potential buyers to meet specific sales criteria, such as a certain number of full-time employees, annual revenue generated, and more. When inbound marketing leads come in, they may have shown interest in what you have to offer, but this doesn’t mean that they can provide an ROI for your business. An outbound lead generation team is responsible for contacting these inbound leads and making sure they meet your company’s sales qualifiers.
“Outbound lead generation efforts rarely get in contact with the right prospects.”
More often than not, in-house outbound lead generation efforts are ineffective because they don’t have the most accurate decision-maker contact information. Additionally, the same argument could be said for inbound lead generation. While this is common for many internal sales development and marketing teams, there are ways to avoid this.
Today, a wide range of prospecting sales tools and technologies are on the market to ensure SDRs get in contact with the right leads. Prospecting software like ZoomInfo and D&B Hoovers enable SDR teams to implement the right prospects in the sales pipeline so your sales reps don’t spend too much time finding the correct contact information. These sales tools and technologies allow your SDRs to spend more time selling than researching.
These sales tools and technologies are incredibly effective for saving time and reducing a prospect’s time in the sales cycle. However, keeping your sales and marketing budget in mind is essential. While these platforms are incredibly effective, they can be costly and negatively impact your company’s bottom line. If you want to minimize spending money on your business growth efforts, it’s worth hiring an outsourced lead generation company to keep costs low. When you hire an outsourced sales development and marketing company to focus on your business growth efforts, you get an entire SDR team and all the sales tools and technologies you need to maintain a predictable sales pipeline.
“Since I have a single target market, my sales messaging should stay the same.”
One of the most common lead generation myths is that while a company may have a single target market, they believe all their sales messaging should stay the same. While sales messaging should be consistent with your brand, and the message you want to relay, each pitch and content marketing asset must align with the buyer personas within your target market.
Before sending sales emails to prospects in your sales pipeline, it’s important to consider the buyer personas of decision-makers in your target audience. Let’s say you’re an MSP wanting to generate more ongoing IT services—the decision-makers for IT could range from business owners to IT managers. While they may be looking for your help, they more than likely won’t have the same pain points.
That’s why sales messaging has to be different and has to align with buyer personas. If your SDRs are pitching to business owners, they could highlight your company’s low price points or how reliable your network security is. On the other hand, when pitching IT managers, SDRs should probably highlight how your company could take responsibility for everyday network security.
Making adjustments to sales messaging based on buyer personas is essential because while you may have the same mission of generating ongoing IT services, what you present to the decision-maker has to align with what their wants, needs, and pain points are. This empowers your sales and marketing teams to send the best sales messaging to the right individuals, expediting the time they spend in the sales funnel.
“Every lead in the sales pipeline should be approached the same way.”
As mentioned above, understanding the buyer personas within your target market is essential. It’s necessary for sending the right sales messaging, but it also shows you how the prospect prefers to be approached.
Let’s use the same example as above—you want to reach whoever is involved with a prospect’s IT services, whether a business owner or an IT manager. More often than not, business owners would prefer to talk over the phone than spend the time to type out an email. On the other hand, IT managers would prefer to respond to an email since they spend their days online anyways.
As you consider the buyer personas of your decision-makers, it’s crucial that you contact them in a way they’d like to be approached. This increases the likelihood of getting a response and agreeing to a sales meeting with your business.
While there are specific buyer personas you can bucket decision-makers into, it’s also vital that you use sales data to your advantage to see where most of the impact of your lead generation efforts comes from. If you’re just getting started building and maintaining your sales pipeline, test out a mix of email marketing and calling to see how potential buyers are engaging with your sales and marketing approach. If you see more impact through one lead generation tactic over another, prioritize that method to maximize your outcome.
“My product or service offerings are too complex for an outbound lead generation program.”
We know how unique your business is, and outbound lead generation can help convey the message of what your company’s product or service has to offer potential buyers. No matter how complex your business model is, outbound lead generation services allow you to explain the solutions your company can bring to a prospect’s pain points.
Even if a prospect isn’t following what your business does over the phone, sales reps can email them relevant sales and marketing materials that expand on how your product or service can be impactful for their business’s short- and long-term growth. These sales and marketing assets can include company brochures, sell sheets, infographics, and explainer videos, giving them a visual explanation of how your company works.
In today’s technological age, it’s a lot easier to connect with prospects from a phone call to a video screen share. Another way that SDRs could efficiently pitch your company’s product or service is by providing them with a quick demo of how your company’s product or service works, so they can explore if this is something they want to invest more interest in. Once the screenshare is in action, an SDR can record it (with the prospect’s permission, of course) and share it with the prospect once the conversation is over so they can look back on it on their own time as well.
“Lead generation should immediately result in an ROI.”
Last but not least, the most common lead generation myth is that you should see an immediate ROI. Outbound lead generation is time-consuming, and many companies often underestimate how long it takes to see results.
Outbound lead generation requires sales and marketing teams to strategically build prospect lists, qualify leads, and practice lead nurturing until the potential buyer reaches the end of the buying cycle. Since most outbound prospects aren’t ready to purchase the first point of contact, it’s important that sales reps continuously build relationships with them over time so they can grow to trust your business and the products or services you have to offer.
While there are business growth techniques that can enable you to get more leads quicker, you risk generating low-quality leads. For example, inbound digital marketing practices like search engine marketing (SEM) and pay-per-click (PPC) ads may bring interested users to your landing page. However, that doesn’t mean that they meet your sales qualifiers, requiring your sales and marketing teams to take additional steps to follow up and verify that they can close business. With an outbound lead generation strategy in place, you can qualify prospects based on their sales qualifiers and nurture the relationship until they’re toward the end of their buying cycle.
With all the different outbound lead generation myths out there, we understand why many small to medium-sized businesses are so hesitant to implement them into their everyday business functions. However, all these myths about lead generation are inaccurate, and they only hold your business back from reaching its business growth potential.
At Sapper Consulting, we collaborate with growing B2B companies across the country to help them build and sustain a lead generation strategy that presents significant results. Our outbound email marketing efforts empower businesses to spend more time selling and less time finding new sales opportunities. When you’re ready to put your business growth efforts in the hands of industry-leading experts, contact the lead generation specialists at Sapper!